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NAO paints ‘mixed picture’ of HMRC accounts

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The National Audit Office has published its report on HMRC’s 2012/13 accounts. The report details progress by HMRC in stabilising and operating the PAYE service and its progress towards the implementation of its real-time information service. The report also covers HMRC’s performance in tackling VAT fraud, and in reducing error and fraud in personal tax cases. Commenting on the report, Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: ‘We have found good progress by HMRC in reducing costs and meeting it revenue targets. In respect of raising customer service levels to an acceptable standard, it has a much longer way to go.’

Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the PAC, said: ‘These accounts give a mixed picture. One of the most startling figures is the tax gap for VAT, which HMRC estimates as £9.6bn. That is a huge amount of money – 10% of the VAT that should be collected … Dispute some progress, HMRC still does not comprehensively check all VAT returns and its response to the emerging threat from online trading has been far too slow.’